2014-03-12T213658Z_1_CBREA2B1O1W00_RTROPTP_2_USA-POLITICS-FLORIDA

Republicans say Obamacare helped clinch Florida victory

Republican David Jolly speaks during a candidate forum with Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby, all candidates for Florida's congressional District 13, in ClearwaterBy Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) – The Republican Party’s leadership was quick to claim their win in Tuesday’s special congressional election on Florida’s west coast as a landmark victory over President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to political analysts. But local Florida analysts say the narrow result was more likely a reflection of the district’s voter make-up, low turnout, and a Democratic challenger lacking in charisma, than public opposition to the president’s signature healthcare legislation, popularly known as Obamacare. “In the end, it looked just like the divided country, and the (Republican) district that it is,” said Susan MacManus, a political analyst and professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Republican David Jolly, 41, defeated Democrat Alex Sink, 65, by 3,500 votes, or a 1.9 percent margin – 48.4 percent to 46.5 percent, according to the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website.

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